INDIANAPOLIS –For the Colts, the start of the 2015 season bears a striking resemblance to a year ago.
Last year, the Colts opened with a loss on the road to Denver. They came home and dropped a Monday night game to Philadelphia. Fans and players alike were disappointed with the 0-2 getaway.
Then, however, something clicked. Colts Coach Chuck Pagano remembers. Vividly.
"We got things figured out; then we ripped off five straight (victories)," he said. "So our full intention is to go back to work and do the same damn thing."
The Colts are 0-2 this week as they face a short work week ahead of their game at Tennessee on Sunday. Monday night, Indianapolis fell by a 20-7 score to the New York Jets as a rocky performance, especially on offense, combined with missed opportunities to take the home team down.
The Jets left Lucas Oil Stadium with their second straight victory, largely on the merits of strong performances from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and receiver Brandon Marshall. Fitzpatrick passed for 244 yards on 22-of-34 while Marshall had seven catches for 101 yards.
For the Colts, Andrew Luck completed 21-of-37 passes for 250 yards. He threw three interceptions with one touchdown. Receiver Donte Moncrief caught seven passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.
The Colts sabotaged themselves much of the night. They were flagged for 11 penalties. They committed five turnovers
"You can't penalize yourself, you can't turn the damn ball over," Pagano said. "We have a game in six days, which could end up being a good thing. We have a short period of time. We can't sit and dwell on this thing. We have to move on."
At halftime, the Colts went to their locker room with a 10-0 deficit. Also, they went in knowing they failed to capitalize on a couple of nice opportunities.
On Indy's second possession of the game, Adam Vinatieri attempted a 29-yard field goal, but it hit the right upright and bounced away. It was his second miss of the season. A year ago, Vinatieri missed only once all season, making everything until the final regular-season game.
Later, midway through the second quarter, came a big defensive play by the Colts. Safety Mike Adams grabbed a pass tipped by cornerback Vontae Davis. Adams made a nifty catch and managed to keep his toes inside the sideline at the goal line. It halted a Jets drive, but the Colts offense couldn't take advantage as they failed to gain a first down on the ensuing possession.
After halftime, the botched chances continued. The Colts had third down at the Jets 1-yard line. Frank Gore took a handoff and started around the left side, only to fumble. New York's Darelle Revis recovered to end the Colts' 19-play drive.
"You can't drive the length of the field, a 10-minute drive, get to the 1-yard line and put the ball on the ground," Pagano said. "You can't do it. You're not going to beat Zionsville doing that."
The Colts have made eight turnovers in their first two games.
"You just have to take care of the football," Pagano said. "Just make great decisions, take care of the football. It's not that hard. It's not trigonometry."
FIRST QUARTER (6:44 remaining)
The Jets scored first, thanks to a big defensive play. When Colts quarterback Andrew Luck faded to pass with the ball at Indy's 18-yard line, cornerback Buster Skrine blitzed and Luck misfired in his haste. Calvin Pryor intercepted and the Jets had the ball at Indy's 9. Four plays later, New York scored on a 6-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker. Nick Folk added the extra point. Jets 7, Colts 0.
SECOND QUARTER (1:51 remaining)
Fitzpatrick completed six consecutive passes for 47 yards before a lengthy Jets drive stalled. When it did, New York called on Folk again. The kicker connected for a 35-yard field goal. Jets 10, Colts 0.
FOURTH QUARTER (10:07 remaining)
Luck and the Colts offense got untracked with an eight-play, 91-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter. Luck completed throws of 27 yards to T.Y. Hilton, 25 to Phillip Dorsett and 26 for the score to Donte Moncrief. Luck also scrambled five yards for a first down to keep the march alive. Adam Vinatieri added the extra point. Jets 10, Colts 7.
FOURTH QUARTER (6:20 remaining)
The Jets extended their lead with a seven-play, 80-yard march for a TD. The big plays were Fitzpatrick's 27-yard pass to Quincy Enunwa and a 16-yard run by Chris Ivory. Fitzpatrick threw 15 yards to Brandon Marshall for the score. Folk connected on the extra point. Jets 17, Colts 7.
FOURTH QUARTER (57 seconds remaining)
Folk padded the Jets' lead with a 46-yard field goal in the final minute. It followed an eight-play, 34-yard drive that ate up 3 minutes, 38 seconds. Jets 20, Colts 7.